Choose Your Format for Your Virtual Wedding
After much deliberation you’ve decided to fully embrace the craziness of 2020 and opt for a virtual wedding. Congrats! You are one step closer to throwing an epic party that will have people talking for years to come. Before diving into the nitty gritty details of planning, you first need to decide on the format of your virtual event. The two main avenues to do that are a livestream or an interactive event.
Livestream or Interactive Event
Think of a livestream as a more “hands off” approach. You set up the technology and then don’t touch it again or directly interact with your guests throughout your day. The livestream serves as more of a way for your guests to watch all that is happening on site. The other avenue would be to have an interactive event with your virtual guests. In an interactive event you would hear from your guests and they would hear from you. This makes for a much more engaging experience for guests. In this format, your guests are active participants rather than passive viewers. You might have virtual flower girls from the other side of the world or hear a toast from your 96 year old grandma Pearl.
DIY or Bring in the Pros for Your Virtual Wedding?
We live in a world where you can Google or YouTube how to do almost anything. But just because you can do anything you’ve learned on the internet, doesn’t necessarily mean you necessarily should. (To all the gals during quarantine that decided to give themselves a little trim after watching a 5 minute YouTube video….talking to you 🙂 Let’s face it, there are just some things that are better left in the hands of the pros.
When it comes to your virtual wedding, the same rings true. While it is possible and doable to pull this off yourself (especially if you are having a livestream)…you will get better quality if you invest in a professional. If as a couple you have decided that the virtual component is important to you, then it is worth your time and money to invest in hiring someone. Additionally, it also eliminates the stress of putting this task on a family member or friend and takes one thing off your plate. The last thing you want to worry about on your wedding day is a tech problem!
Platforms to Livestream your Virtual Wedding
If you decide that you want to livestream your wedding, you will need to decide on which platform you are going to use. There are numerous platforms to choose from, with each one having slightly different features.
- Facebook or Instagram live: these platforms are user friendly and simple to use. You can simply press “go live” and your wedding will instantly stream to all of your social media followers. This is ideal for broadcasting to large audiences of people. However, the drawback is that there isn’t much privacy as all of your followers are able to watch the wedding.
- Joy: this is a multi-use platform that serves many purposes, including building a custom website where you can host a livestream. To stream your wedding to your Joy website, you will need to use either YouTube Live or Vimeo and copy the URL into your website. Your guests will be able to view it there.
- Lovecast: Lovecast is a free mobile app that your guests can download to watch the livestream of your wedding. They can also access it via the URL that you give to them. It is simple for guests and also allows for them to speak with you via the live chat feature.
Limitations of a Livestream
- Lack of interaction with your guests: With a livestream, guests are not able to directly interact with the bride and groom. They aren’t able to give the big unmuted round of applause after the first kiss. They aren’t able to send a CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! message with an obnoxious amount of exclamation marks in the chat. They also aren’t able to give toasts or directly speak during any part of the wedding.
- Potential decreased investment from your virtual guests: The amount of time, emphasis and importance you place on the virtual aspect of your wedding directly correlates to how invested your virtual guests will be. If they feel like they are more passive viewers of your wedding, rather than important virtual guests, they are more likely to have a “casual” attitude towards your wedding. There is also the potential to feel like a second string guest if you are not in direct attendance of the wedding.
Interactive Virtual Wedding
Here at Wedfuly, we are big believers in the power of an interactive virtual wedding. We truly believe that the more your virtual guests are involved, the more memorable the experience will be for all involved. By utilizing multiple different features of Zoom, the virtual wedding really comes to life in a way that just pressing “record” can’t accomplish. Below is the typical flow of a Wedfuly wedding.
Before the Virtual Wedding
- Set up time: One hour before the wedding, the Wedfuly coordinators working on the wedding will log on and make sure things are good to go. They will be communicating with your on-site contact (think tech-savvy little brother) to make sure the audio visual pieces are ready!
- Prelude: This is the part of your wedding before the ceremony begins. Your guests will have logged on and be situated in their living rooms ready to Zoom their little hearts out. This is the perfect time to have a picture slideshow looping while your favorite playlists plays softly in the background. This is also the time that the Wedfuly MC will welcome your guests and go through some basics of how to operate Zoom and the do’s and don’ts of a virtual wedding. (rogue un-muters, she’s talking to you!!!!)
During the Virtual Wedding
- Ceremony: The set up of your specific ceremony can be as personalized as you want it to be. You might be in your backyard, in the middle of the woods, or on a New York rooftop. Cell phone cameras will be strategically placed at multiple angles to capture the walk down the aisle and the exchanging of your vows. Microphones will be intentionally placed so that your Zoom guests hear every single thing.
- Intermission: The intermission is a strategic amount of time that allows you and your new boo to take in the excitement of what just happened! You can breathe, cry, laugh and move any cameras that need to be moved for the reception. Typically, we will put up a static intermission slide, slideshow or surprise video to show to your virtual guests during this time. This is also the time that the Wedfuly MC will encourage them to grab a celebratory beverage and stretch their legs before the reception.
After the Virtual Wedding
- Reception + final remarks. Ahhhh the virtual wedding reception. Most every Wedfuly wedding coordinator can agree that this is the part where the magic happens! While many couples feel hesitant to include different parts of the reception for fear of it being awkward or staged–we can assure you, this is not the case. Listed below are different reception pieces that you can pick and choose from to best suit you as a couple!
- First dance
- Father/daughter and/or mother/son dance
- Group dance (a Wedfuly FAVE)
- Cake cutting
- Toasts (in person, as well as virtual)
- Final remarks from the couple
Think Outside of the Box
Having coordinated and facilitated hundreds of virtual weddings, we have seen some pretty incredible and innovative ideas. We encourage you to think creatively about ways to incorporate personal touches to your virtual wedding. Virtual weddings lend themselves to that type of thing! Listed below are some fun ways to spice things up and keep your guests on the edge of their couches!
- Have a signature cocktail: You can send your guests the recipe beforehand, which will allow them to have all of the ingredients on your wedding day. Then ask your Wedfuly MC if they can double as a bartender and teach your guests how to craft this cocktail during the intermission. Then when it is time for toasts, your virtual guests will be able to raise their drinks and feel like they are right there with you!
- Affordable party favors: If your budget allows for this, you could consider creating budget-friendly favors to send to your guests beforehand. For example, sites like Etsy will create custom koozies with your names, wedding date and a fun picture on them. Then every time your guests reach for their koozie post wedding they will be flooded with happy Zoom memories.
Make the Most of Your Time
- Maximizing your time: Given the fact that the Wedfuly Techy Package includes 2 hours of run time, make sure you are making the most of your time. One way we have seen this done is through the intermission. Instead of playing a slideshow during the intermission, ask your Wedfuly coordinator if they can help facilitate guests leaving messages for you during this time. Your guests will simply drop their name in the chat and the MC will spotlight them to leave a well-wish for you. Then, when you are rewatching your wedding, you will be able to watch all of these special messages your virtual guests left for you.
Virtual Wedding Website and Wedding Invites
Gone are the days of having to go into a stationary store to pick out the fonts for your wedding invitations. Now, with so many incredible invite websites, you can create your dream invitations from the comfort of your couch. Whether your style is formal + traditional or modern + trendy, there is a way to find invitations that fit you perfectly. Since virtual weddings are a fairly new concept, you might be wondering how to best “word” things on your invitations and wedding website. Listed below are some samples and Wedfuly pro tips!
Choose Your Platform
- Your first step will be to pick which platform you will use to create your wedding invitations and website. Our personal favorite is withjoy.com . On this site, you can create your website, invitations and manage your guest book all in one place. Other options for invitations include paperlesspost.com and zazzle.com. As well as sites such as theknot.com and zola.com to create your actual wedding website.
- Wedfuly pro tip: skip the time + hassle of designing your invitations yourself. Consider purchasing the add-on of “invites + website” and leave the legwork to your Wedfuly coordinator.
Information to Include on Your Invitations:
- Time + time zone of your virtual wedding. Time zone is especially important since you will most likely have guests joining from several different time zones!
- Zoom link + password (**DISCLAIMER): please only post the link + password if these are going to be sent privately via email. Do not post your link + password on your website. Zoom bombers are real!
- Link to your wedding website so that guests can read more in depth about your wedding. Wedfuly pro tip: less is more! Keep your invites crisp and clean so that guests don’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of information on the invite.
Information to Include on Your Wedding Website:
- Personal details about you as a couple! Maybe a story of how you met, got engaged or just a little bio about both of you. There might be lots of people attending your virtual wedding that don’t know or haven’t met your significant other
- Zoom link (**as long as it does not have the password encrypted into it)
- Zoom “schedule” for your wedding day. Be specific about the time you want your guests to have their browser open + ready to go!
- Zoom dress code. Many people have never attended a virtual wedding before and therefore have no clue what they should be wearing.
- Link to registry + any other pertinent information